This is what New York Rangers’ fans have been waiting to see for six months?
On Thursday, the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov made 24 saves and shut out the hapless, junior Rangers, 4-0.
“I always have confidence in this team,” Varlamov said. “I think we have a great group of guys, a great team. Every time I play, I know I have a chance to win because I know who I’m playing with. Every time I play, the guys give me a chance to win.”
Brock Nelson scored early in the first period for the only goal the Isles would really need against an out-manned and out-prepared Rangers squad.
“I think we just wanted to start on the right foot, get to our game early and find that momentum by playing the way we need to play,” Lee said. “I think we did a good job of that. It was a result of a good camp, everyone being ready for tonight and ‘Varly’ playing a good game.”
Jordan Eberle scored in the middle frame.
“I thought we had a really good game today overall,” Varlamov said. “We had a great start, scored a quick couple of goals and that set the tone. It’s always easier to play like that, when you score first. Overall, I’m pretty happy with what we did today.”
The Islanders were 2-for-8 on the power play, the only glaring blemish on their record for the night.
“There’s no statement game for us,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “It’s the first game of the season against a rival. We know how important points are in a shortened season. We wanted to come out and play well. I thought we had a really good start.
“A couple minutes into the third period, about five minutes in, I thought we locked it down real good. I liked our game, but there’s another level for us.”
The Rangers were scoreless in three chances on the power play.
“They did a good job in a lot of areas and we certainly weren’t good in many, if any at all,” Rangershead coach David Quinn said. “We’ve got to be quick learners because we play them Saturday and it might be a good lesson, a reminder for a bunch of guys that probably don’t instinctively have it in their hockey DNA to play the way that we needed to tonight. The good news for us is a bunch of guys that were here last year did it for long stretches of time, and we’ve got to do that starting on Saturday.”
Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves in the start and while he settled down after a rough first period, he was out-matched by a prepared Isles team.